The Amon Liner Poetry Award ON SEEING A BEE DRINK HIS NECTAR

Fall 2019 / Issue 106

Wesley Sexton

Here I sit almost 25 years old,
never knowing how a bee drinks
its nectar til today, having followed one
from geranium petal to geranium petal,
leaning in close, seeing his tiny hands
grab each tiny flower, watching him
extend a shining, black cone
from the center of his face to lap up
the sweet stuff. It’s a dipping tongue,
apparently, which I was calling a
retractable nose, and butterflies
have one too, and I don’t know
how I made it this long never properly looking
at a bee! There should be entire grades
dedicated to this stuff and other grades
set aside for looking up at oak trees from underneath.
My ignorance of the world is oversized
like a shirt. It has sleeves that drag the ground
when I walk. My neighbor tells me
how a mother robin keeps her nest clean—
carrying the young birds’ waste in her
mouth and making deposits in the grass
somewhere. It’s true. My neighbor has watched
this happen, she says, and all at once I love her,
want to marry her impulsively, buy a big house
just for the porch, and spend the rest of our lives
uncovering the daily routines of moths,
listening to the sound spiders make
when they slurp liquefied guts, wondering
what chipmunks dream about, and if they kick
their legs in their sleep like a dog sometimes does.